Parasite Outbreak in Bagged Salads Sickens More Than 200 in Eight States
A Cyclospora outbreak linked to bagged lettuce has sickened 206 people in eight Midwestern states and sent 23 to the hospital, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday. No one has died.
The outbreak has led to several recalls of salads made at a Fresh Express production facility in Streamwood, Illinois that were sold at major retailers Walmart, Hy-Vee, Aldi and Jewel-Osco, USA TODAY reported.
"[O]bviously there was some breakdown in the quality chain," Rutgers University food microbiologist Donald W. Schaffner told The New York Times. He said the size and spread of the outbreak suggested "some rather significant sanitary breakdown in the production of this food."
FOOD RECALL: Fresh Express recalled products with iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage due to Cyclospora. Prod… https://t.co/mi3qsBhvXz— CDC (@CDC)1593380259.0
The parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis causes an infection called cyclosporiasis when humans eat or drink contaminated food or water, according to the CDC. The main symptom is watery diarrhea, but it can also cause stomach cramping, appetite loss and fatigue. It can last from a few days to longer than a month and is typically treated with antibiotics.
The first major foodborne cyclosporiasis outbreak was in the mid-1990s, Schaffner told The New York Times, and no one knows exactly what caused it. The current outbreak marks the third year in a row that there has been an outbreak of the illness during the warmer months.
"It's likely due to the quality of the water used to irrigate the produce, and it probably has something to do with human fecal contamination of that water, but of course there's a whole lot of unknowns," Schaffner said. "Very often with these fresh produce outbreaks, we never learn the definitive cause."
Illnesses from the current outbreak have been reported in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin between May 11 and June 17, the CDC said. So far, the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation has uncovered a Fresh Express bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots and red cabbage as the likely culprit.
The outbreak has already prompted a number of recalls.
1. Brand: Marketside brand Classic Iceberg Salad
States: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Bag Size: 12 to 24 ounces
Use By: 05/19/2020 through 07/04/2020
2. Brand: Little Salad Bar brand Garden Salad
States: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Bag Size: 12 ounces
Use By: 05/01/2020 through 06/29/2020
3. Brand: Hy-Vee brand Garden Salad
States: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Bag Size: 12 ounces
Use By: All dates
4. Brand: Jewel-Osco Signature Farms brand Garden Salad
States: Illinois, Indiana and Iowa
Bag Size: 12 ounces
Use By: 05/16/2020 through 07/04/2020
Jewel-Osco Voluntarily Recalls Bagged Signature Farms Garden Salad Due to Possible Cyclospora Contamination… https://t.co/nqaUR2DeXr— U.S. FDA Recalls (@U.S. FDA Recalls)1593184537.0
Then, on Saturday, Fresh Express issued a voluntary recall of all the salads made at its Streamwood facility that contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage or carrots. The recall only impacts salads with a "Z" at the beginning of the Product Code in the upper-right-hand corner of the front of the package. The recalled salads have a Product Code of Z178 or lower.
"Our immediate thoughts and concern are for those consumers who have become ill due to the outbreak," Fresh Express said in a statement Saturday reported by USA Today. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have issued a voluntary recall of both branded and private label salad products that were produced at the Streamwood facility and contain those ingredients."
The Fresh Express recall came after the FDA began an investigation of the Streamwood plant and raised concerns that some products not already recalled might be impacted, according to the FDA.
"Consumers should not eat, and restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve any Fresh Express products currently on the market that were made in the Streamwood, Illinois, production facility and contain either iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, or carrots," the agency recommended.
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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